— Published 29 April 2021

Decision in June for the presence of spectators

The information had already been revealed by the media, it is now official: the organisers of the Tokyo Games will postpone their decision on the presence of spectators at the competition venues until June. They announced it on Wednesday, April 28th, following a five-party meeting earlier today with the IOC, IPC, the Japanese government and officials in Tokyo. Seiko Hashimoto, chair of the organizing committee, admitted during a virtual press briefing: “At some point we have to decide to go ahead without spectators“. The message is clear: the closed door option remains on the table. It is expected to stay there until the last moment, just five to six weeks before the Games open (July 23 to August 8). Seiko Hashimoto makes it no longer a mystery: it will be “extremely difficult” to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in front of full stadiums and venues if the health situation in Japan does not improve quickly. The Japanese capital recorded 925 new cases of COVID-19 for the day of April 28th, a figure up from the previous day. Tokyo has seen an average of 417 new cases per day since the start of April, compared to just 300 in March. According to several sources within the organising committee, several options are under consideration, including a spectator gauge at 50% of the capacity of the venues, allowing entry only to those who have already purchased tickets. But it is not impossible to go much lower. “20,000 spectators, 10,000, 5,000, or no audience at all”, explained Seiko Hashimoto Wednesday April 28th, referring to the scenarios considered at the Olympic stadium. “We will prepare for the worst, but hoping to have as many spectators as possible”.